The hype around Mazi Smith has always been big, and for good reason. He came to Ann Arbor as a four-star recruit, ranked 38th nationally and the second-best defensive tackle in the nation.
Like most, it took a couple of years for Smith to get meaningful playing time. As a freshman, Smith only appeared in two games, but did earn his varsity letter. His playing time increased in year two as Smith played in five out of six games in a Covid-shortened season.
It was junior year where Smith really began to take off. Smith started on the defensive line in all 14 games and helped lead the Michigan Wolverines to a Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff berth.
During that season, Smith put up some impressive stats. Smith had 37 tackles, 2.5 TFL and was an All-Big Ten honorable mention. Smith’s return for his senior year was huge for the 2022 Michigan squad.
Smith was named the No. 1 freak in college football by ESPN heading into this past season. The hype was at an all-time high for Smith and he delivered. Smith started all 14 games and put up some really good numbers. He had 48 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and had a forced fumble that he recovered. Smith was a crucial part of the Michigan defense.
The season wasn’t filled with only highs, however. Late in the year, Smith ran into some trouble with the police after he was pulled over for speeding and a gun was found in his vehicle. Fortunately, he did not miss any games and was able to resolve the issue as the gun was in the process of being registered.
At the conclusion of the season, Smith was named to the All-Big Ten first team and was also named the Defensive Player of the Year for the Wolverines. Well deserved.
Hats off to Mazi Smith on an incredible Michigan career, and good luck at the next level!